Friday, August 19, 2005


HatTip to Alarm:Clock. has an entertaining article on Tim Draper:

Draper, however, is best known for self-promotional stunts such as singing at conferences, dressing up as Batman on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange and generally, just making really silly public statements that attract attention. While VC investing may require brains and native shrewdness, Draper's rebound may show that success can also come through a willingness to take risks on new geographies and sectors. And if self-promotion and buffoonery are an inseparable part of that risk-taking proposition, so be it.

A recent example of that buffoonery was on display in Kiev. Draper boasted in a press release that he came away from a meeting with Ukraine's leader awash in hyperbole. "If President Yuschenko gets the support he deserves, Ukraine could even become freer market than America!" he said.

Draper was in the Ukrainian capital to welcome the firm's latest affiliate to his VC network, TechInvest, a Kiev-based firm. According to TechInvest, Draper is trying to raise $50 million to $80 million for a new fund called the DFJ-Nexus Fund, which the two firms will manage and will target Ukrainian and Russian high-tech startups.

Draper's done this sort of work before. He lends his name to investors in communities worldwide so they can raise funds to invest in local startups. In return, he gets management fees and dealflow. Some of those arrangements have succeeded. Others, such as an ill-starred, closed-end venture firm called meVC, have bombed.

Now, let's get this straight. Draper should be lauded for venturing where few other Silicon Valley venture capitalists dare to tread. And he's reaping some of the rewards of that wanderlust.'s IPO could value the company at nearly $1 billion. In the Ukraine, there are a ton of talented engineers and possibly the seeds of good deals. But did Draper have to say, "Ukraine will become an economic powerhouse, I know it, I see it, and I smell it"?
(full article)

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